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Yet another thing on my long, long “to do someday” list.. a COMPOSTER!!

This has been one of those projects that I kept thinking was a good idea, but not a priority. Also, I didn’t have a great use for the soil that it would produce. Now that I’m being very intentional about this blog and it’s content, the composter and future uses for the soil (READ AS “THERE’S A GARDEN COMING!”) made more sense.

I’ve long looked at different methods for containing and turning compost, and let me tell you.. there are TONS of different methods.  I came across the idea of just using a garbage can a while back and it just made perfect sense to me.  The cans are cheap (mine was $12), moveable, and easy to mix (lay it down, and roll).

Here’s what you need:

  • cheap garbage can some
  • aluminum door screen (36″ x 84″)
  • a drill & paddle bit
  • a staple gun.

You'll need a 1" paddle bit and a staple gun.

You’ll need a 1″ paddle bit and a staple gun.

Drill holes, but keep can strength intact.

The idea for this composter is simple. Drill big holes up and down all of the sides, making sure to not weaken the structure of the can, then cover the holes on the inside with the screen to keep critters out of the can.  I also put holes in the bottom, but left them uncovered, so worms and bugs can come up through the ground to help..  they’re completely necessary to the composting process.

The only problem I came across was using the staples as a way to attach the screen.  It finally worked, but took some trial and error. I’m also not entirely sure how long they’ll stay in place, so it’s possible that there’s a better long term solution (GIVE ME IDEAS IN THE COMMENT!!!) Obviously, the staple gun needs something to press against, so that the staples will bend and grab the two things you’re stapling together.  I ended up holding a metal pipe on the inside of the can and using that as a backing to staple against.  It mostly worked. I had to go back with some pliers and manually bend a few of the staples down.  Take the time to do that, otherwise the staples will be useless.

Be sure the staples are bent to hold the screen in place.

Be sure the staples are bent to hold the screen in place.

The shape of the can that you get may be different than mine, so you may need to approach it differently, but I attached the screen starting at the bottom of the can, then moved around and up.  When I got to the upper “flared” part of my can, I just used a utility knife to cut slits in the screen, essentially making tabs at the top, allowing them to only cover the area that they were needed.  For good measure, I folded the top of the screen under and stapled it in place. On screen like this, the rough edges will fray just like material.

Put a bungee cord across the top to hold it in place while rolling the can.

Put a bungee cord across the top to hold it in place while rolling the can.


That’s it!  Quick and easy composter, for only a few dollars!

If you’ve got ideas or improvements (especially about the stapling method), please let me know in the comments!